PAWS (Post acute withdrawal)

Hi All,
Hope everyone is good.
I was after some advice please. I basically have been drinking moderately mainly with the occasional session every now and then (once a month tops) I gave up 22 months ago and suffered really bad anxiety and a depressive episode.
I am still getting odd moods but less deep and heavy.
This I read is Post Acute Withdrawal Syndrome (PAWS).
I was wondering if any other long term drinkers have experienced this at all and what timeline they had.
I also think I am a highly sensitive person (HSP) as written and researched by Dr Elaine Aron (I think Marcus is also)


In my experience PAWS episodes occur almost on a monthly frequency. At first it seemed to be pretty pronounced, strong feeling of what I would describe as hung over with mild depression. Episodes last a day or three and disappear as quickly as they came. Each episode is weaker than the previous and from what I’ve ready, they can last for up to 2 years after you quit drinking.

Our brain’s biology is pretty strange and really, no one fully understands it. It seems everyone goes through cycles of depression and mania, some more intense than others. Is alcohol, or lack there of the cause? Probably not, but living life unfiltered allows us to feel it more. Idk, probably not a helpful answer.


Welcome, @bill! Sure can relate, and we’re not alone. PAWS comes up a bunch.

When folks on here talk about seeking a program or some kind of support, I feel this is what those things address. I know mine has for me.

Maybe a less clinical perspective, but readjusting to a sober life left me with all kinds of mental and emotional wreckage that frankly I’m still sorting through. So much of my drinking was about avoidance. I was scared or tired or something with facing anything that made me uncomfortable. Of course in hindsight drinking only made that worse. Things piled up and didn’t improve.

Getting sober’s meant developing a new manner of thinking I just didn’t have anymore for approaching life in a healthier way. “Today” has gotten so much more approachable since, taking one thing at a time, though waves still come and pass for me many months in.

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Welcome! PAWS has been intense for me. It improves with time, with episodes being less intense, less frequent, and I know what to expect with time. You can search for threads where this is mentioned! :bird:

I have 6 months and still am dealing with paws I want to give up on my 3 months and 6 months but had to get to a meeting and to my iop they really help me I have had to change everything now I feel like I’m ok and I’m not missing anything I can’t get any of the lost time I thought away when I was using I don’t want to give any more of my life to the drugs the told my life over so don’t give up


I was coming of Ativan then i stopped drinking a couple weeks later cold turkey i was going to the gym going on long walks with my walkman( that was along time ago lol) listening to AA speakers and in the evenings i went to meetings kept busy gardening wish you well

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